Monday Links from the Bench vol. CCCLXXIV
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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. CCCLXXIV

    Let's hope they gave me the correct envelope… ah yes, here we are:
    • The Forgotten History of 'The Oregon Trail,' As Told By Its Creators - Kevin Wong meets the creators of the game that became the archetype of edutainment software in the 8-bit computing era, but which is even older than I thought: ”Three Minnesotan public school teachers created The Oregon Trail in 1971. At the time, computers were new to education; there were no monitors, and students played the first version of the game on a teletypewriter—an electromechanical typewriter that could communicate, via phone line, with a large, mainframe computer.”

    • Meet The Man Who Stopped Thousands Of People Becoming HIV-Positive - The story of Greg Owen, a part-time barman who has been the driving force behind the campaign to make medication that can prevent HIV transmission available on the NHS: ”In the space of 12 months, the number of gay men in London being diagnosed with HIV had dropped by 40%. Across England it was down by a third. No British doctor has been able to report a fall this steep in more than 35 years of the virus. It is the kind of figure that in medical circles is so large as to look jarring, even false; and yet it was true.”

    • So A Nazi Walks Into An Iron Bar: the Meyer Lansky Story - How Jewish gangsters in pre-WWII New York took on the Nazis of the German American Bund: ”The Nazi scumbags were meeting one night on the second floor. Nat Arno and I went upstairs and threw stink bombs into the room where the creeps were. As they came out of the room, running from the horrible odor of the stink bombs and running down the steps to go into the street to escape, our boys were waiting with bats and iron bars. It was like running a gauntlet. Our boys were lined up on both sides and we started hitting, aiming for their heads or any other part of their bodies, with our bats and irons. The Nazis were screaming blue murder. This was one of the most happy moments of my life.”

    • Bots on Wikipedia Wage Edit Wars Between Themselves That Last For Years - The machine uprising and enslavement of the human race will be postponed while the robots deal with the pressing issue of misplaced apostrophes: ”Wikipedia’s bots don’t always get along, frequently undoing each other’s edits. These online algorithms, each equipped with their own instructions and goals, engage in sterile “fights” over content that can persist for years.”

    • How and When to Sit… - The rules surrounding sitting at the court of Louis XIV were exceedingly complicated: ”Only the Queen and King had the right to sit on a fauteuil, a chair with arms, this did also apply to foreign Monarchs and made matters a little complicated in case of the exiled English Monarchs. The exiled James II and his Queen, for example, had the right to fauteuils and as James II died, Louis XIV granted this right to James’ son James Francis Edward Stuart aka the Old Pretender, therefore basically making him a proper King, although England had William III.”

    • Trump's "beautiful" Oval Office phones and what was changed on them - This excellent blog covers communications equipment used by governments, particularly that of the USA, and here turns its attention to the phones on the desk in the Oval Office: ”On the back of this phone is a black metal box and on the front panel there's an extra red button, both of which are modifications by Advanced Programs, Inc. (API) in order to meet Telephone Security Group (TSG) standards, including on-hook security for the handset and the speakerphone and probably also for TEMPEST protection. These modifications are to make sure that the phone cannot by any means be caused to produce or transmit audio when the handset is on-hook - whether accidental or deliberate.”

    • Maniac Killers of the Bangalore IT Department - The Indian press is strangely obsessed with crimes involving software developers: ”To read the Indian newspapers regularly is to believe the software engineer is the country’s most cursed figure. Almost every edition carries a gruesome story involving a techie accused of homicide, rape, burglary, blackmail, assault, injury, suicide, or another crime. When techies are the victims, it’s just as newsworthy.”

    • From this basement came a piece of fake news about who had desecrated a church in Sweden - ”A church in Kristianstad, Sweden, is desecrated. An unknown party has been masturbating in the nave. On the floor are faeces and used syringes. The parish thinks drug addicts are to blame – but in the US a different explanation has reached millions through Facebook. Måns Mosesson tells the story of how one piece of fake news went global, all from a shabby basement room in Macedonia.”

    • The Atari logo: behind “the Fuji” - The story of the famous logo: ”While other logo designs of the era — Carolyn Davidson’s Nike “swoosh” or the Apple logo created at Regis McKenna — have spawned mythologies and lengthy design criticism, the origins of the Atari logo are still wrapped up in some mystery, adding to the mystique of its designer, George Opperman, and the iconic mark itself.”

    • The Vault Of The Atomic Space Age - A gallery of wonderful design from the days when the future was bright and the furniture was orange.


    Happy invoicing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    Bots on Wikipedia Wage Edit Wars Between Themselves That Last For Years - The machine uprising and enslavement of the human race will be postponed while the robots deal with the pressing issue of misplaced apostrophes: ”Wikipedia’s bots don’t always get along, frequently undoing each other’s edits. These online algorithms, each equipped with their own instructions and goals, engage in sterile “fights” over content that can persist for years.”
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    The Forgotten History of 'The Oregon Trail,' As Told By Its Creators - Kevin Wong meets the creators of the game that became the archetype of edutainment software in the 8-bit computing era, but which is even older than I thought: ”Three Minnesotan public school teachers created The Oregon Trail in 1971. At the time, computers were new to education; there were no monitors, and students played the first version of the game on a teletypewriter—an electromechanical typewriter that could communicate, via phone line, with a large, mainframe computer.”
    Ahh I remember playing Twin Kingdom Valley as part of computer studies on a BBC back in the day.
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